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Carter Caves State Park, Kentucky

Learn & Do Trail Maintenance + Campout

Learn & Do Trail Maintenance + Campout
May 12 - 15, 2022
Carter Caves State Resort Park, Kentucky

Fee: $35.00 - Includes camping for three nights, two dinners, all instruction, personal safety equipment and fun evening activities.

Register by April 1, 2022 and receive a free Trail Crew shirt!

Limit 12 participants

WORKSHOP FULL. Join the waiting list.

Want to be added the waiting list?

Send us an email with your first name, last name, phone number and trip name to and we will add you to the waiting list. We can and do cancellations.

Join the Trail Crew At Carter Caves State Resort Park!

Description: Join the Carter Caves trail crew and spend a weekend at Kentucky's best kept secret learning about and doing trail maintenance. Your volunteer efforts will improve the trails at the park and make them safer and more enjoyable for park visitors.

Projects include fixing erosion problems, installing water bars, removing downed trees, installing check dam, painting blazes, side hill maintenance and installing non-slip surfaces on wooden bridges.

This is a three night campout with 2 1/2 days of working on the trails. No experience required. Upper body strength not required. This is for men and women of all ages.

Tools, safety equipment and instruction provided. You'll be taught the basics of trail maintenance and will put those techniques to use. In the evening, enjoy fun activities at the park. Give back to the trails! Come with a friend.

This same Trail Crew outing is also offered on May 19 - 22, 2022.


About Carter Caves: The beautiful setting of Carter Caves State Resort Park is the ideal setting for this trail crew event. Nestled in the hills of Eastern Kentucky, Carter Caves is 2,000 acres of wooded hills rich in plants, animals and geologic formations both above and below ground. Carter Caves is home to over 30 miles of hiking trails and over a dozen caves.

Park Web Site

Map Link To Carter Caves State Resort Park


View The Photos From Last Years Learn & Do Trail Maintenance Events

The Schedule

Thursday: Arrive at the park late afternoon. Set up your campsite. At 7:00 pm we'll meet for orientation, introductions, safety talk and instruction on the basics of trail maintenance. Afterward we'll get underground for a short cave tour of X-Cave.
Friday: Our workday is from 8:00 am - 3:00 pm. Plan on spending the whole time outside on the trails. We'll meet again at 6:00 pm for a pizza dinner. After dinner we'll enjoy an optional, fun activity at the park.
Saturday: Our workday is from 8:00 am - 3:00 pm. Plan on spending the whole time outside on the trails. We'll meet again at 6:00 pm for a buffet dinner in the lodge restaurant. After dinner we'll enjoy an optional, fun activity at the park.
Sunday: Our workday begins at 8:30 am and ends at noon. We will use this time to finish up any projects and clean tools. Depart.

Evening Activities

Thursday: Walking Tour of X-Cave. X-cave has two vertical joint passages that meander through a large layer of limestone which puts you up-close to many beautiful cave formations. Some of the highlighted features include turkey rock, the pipe organ, and the giant column which is the largest cave formation found at the park. Be aware of your surroundings and you will discover how this cave became known as "X-Cave."
Friday - Tomahawk Throwing. There's maybe nothing more primal and satisfying than throwing a tomahawk through the air and hearing as it sticks flush into its target. It's a relaxing and mesmerizing activity that anyone can learn with the proper technique and the right practice. When done properly, throwing tomahawks can be like mountain man yoga.
Saturday - Cascade Cave Tour. We'll finish off a day of trail maintenance with a Cascade Cave walking tour. It's the longest scenic cave tour in the park and is noted for its large chambers and many beautiful cave formations. A highlight of the tour is a 30-foot high underground waterfall as well as the Lake Room’s reflecting pool, the Cathedral in North Cave, and the Dance Hall where a previous owner held weekly dances.



Camping: Bring your tent as camping is included in your registration fee. Our campsite is the secluded backyard of a cottage in the park away from the main cabin loop and campground loop. There is plenty of flat, grassy area for your tent.

You will have access to the cottage to use the bathrooms, showers, kitchen, refrigerator, microwave, stove, coffee maker, TV, and garage. The cottage will serve as our field house.


Alternate Lodging: Need your own space? Feel free to get a lodge room, cottage or a campsite in the main campground at your own expense.

What Is Included?

Your $35.00 registration fee includes:

  • Three nights of camping (Thursday through Sunday)
  • Friday Pizza Dinner
  • Saturday Buffet in the Lodge Restaurant
  • Three Evening Activities
  • Hard Hat, Safety Glasses, Foam Ear Plugs (You keep)
  • All Trail Tools
  • Instruction on Trail Maintenance and Trail Safety
  • Supervision by Experienced Trail Crew Leaders
  • Comradery, fun and a sense of accomplishment!

What Is Not Included?

  • Breakfast - Bring your own or dine in the lodge
  • Lunch - Pack Your Own. On The Trail.
  • Camping Equipment
  • Transportation


What To Bring:

Check out our List of Items To Bring so you are fully prepared!

Your Trail Crew Leader:

Andy Niekamp. Andy Niekamp is an experienced trail crew leader with the Kentucky State Park system. He has led volunteer trail crews from the Americorps and American Hiking Society for the past several years. Andy is a former section supervisor for a 50-mile section of the Buckeye Trail and North Country National Scenic Trail in Ohio where he oversees a crew of trail adopters. He can be found joining trail crews on the Florida trail during the month of Febrary. Andy is a certified chainsawyer by the United States Forest Service and is a Wilderness First Responder. Andy has backpacked over 14,000 miles including four end to end hikes of the Appalachian Trail and thru hikes of the Buckeye Trail, Ohio To Erie Trail, Sheltowee Trace, Florida Trail, Long Trail, Ozark Highlands Trail, Colorado Trail, Superior Hiking Trail and the Bartram Trail. Andy is founder and leader of the Dayton Hikers group, the largest outdoor recreation group in Dayton, Ohio, and a Leave No Trace Master Educator. Andy Niekamp grew up and lives in Dayton and has a passion for long distance hiking which he shares with others. Andy brings his wealth of backpacking experience and his passion for trail maintenance.

Operated on Kentucky State Park lands in Carter Caves State Resort Park with special permission.

Here Is What They Say About Our Learn & Do Trail Crew Events:

I enjoyed the activities in the evening and the variety of dinner optionsSue H.

It was physical and labor intense which gave me a great sense of accomplishment. Thank you Andy for the week I needed that escape and opportunity to see what I could do.Debbie B.

The accommodations were awesome and really enjoyed the variety of evening activities.Barb K.

I liked Andy's leadership style: allowing flow to the work ; encouragement; teaching; sense of humor, appreciation and respect for each person.Karen K.

I can't imagine anything being done differently in regards to leadership, introduction, prep and planning. The experience exceeded my expectations.Monika M.

I really appreciated the focus of the trail projects and how knowledgeable the trail boss is.Robin R.

I liked our accommodations, food, and evening activities. I enjoyed meeting the Carter Cave park staff.Debbie B.

I loved having the park staff involved and our group breakfasts.Karen K.

The schedule was good. One week was perfect. Work/play ratio was great.Sterling D.

It was great being able to stay in cabins, not camp out. The friendly and involved park staff made the event a sure success.Frank C.


Cancellation Policy: No refunds offered. Your registration fee is non-refundable unless this event is cancelled or rescheduled.

You must be at least age 18 to register for this event. No exceptions.

First time trail crew registrants must attend the orientation & safety talk on Thursday evening. No exceptions.

By registering for this event you agree that you can arrive at the park on Thursday evening and stay until the conclusion of work on Saturday. Your registration is subject to cancellation if you are unable to do so.

All participants must complete an trail crew application and sign a liability waiver. Trail Crew Application PDF to download/print. Application must be returned for your registration to be confirmed.

No pets permitted. Our events non-smoking. Details will be sent via email to registered participants.

What an amazing trip with an incredible group of people! Thank you for all you did to make the trip extra special!Lisa S.